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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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My Public Inbox

I'm going to pin this post to the top of my profile so there's a place for anyone to publicly ask me a question, and I'll do my best to reply when I can.

I'm happy to offer advice primarily on the intersection of software, entrepreneurship and career.

Happy coding!

Top comments (69)

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george profile image
George Nance

How did you grow enough of a following to launch a social network? Any advice for someone who wants to do the same?

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devlorenzo profile image
DevLorenzo

Yes, can you please give us advice about how to grow an audience as a dev?

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't stop working on the project for 10 years, even if traction took forever. Then I methodically worked on content creation and observing what stuck and could lead to further opportunities. It was years of growing on Twitter before even typing rails new for what became DEV.

Giving myself the room to do a lot of observing while methodically building helped ensure some amount of success. But it's also an area that combines several different skillsets of mine.

FWIW it's going to be way easier for folks to build from scratch on Forem (the extraction from DEV we're working hard on).... We'll soon launch a Forem app which will act as a discovery mechanism for independent Forem social networks hosted in a distributed way, but discoverable through one app.... It's going to be really really cool.

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faraazahmad profile image
Syed Faraaz Ahmad

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't stop working on the project for 10 years

You must have had exceptional belief in DEV community then

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devlorenzo profile image
DevLorenzo • Edited

Thanks for answering!

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

You must have had exceptional belief in DEV community then

I had belief in my own interest in seeing an improvement in online communities. My sense was that I wouldn't get bored of trying to help because I really cared. So with that in mind I also promised myself I wouldn't give up.

In prior ventures I'd either gotten bored or given up primarily because I either didn't truly care about the mission deep down, or got involved with people I didn't like or respect as founders and people. I made sure with this venture to solve for some of those fundamentals early on and let the success come with patience.

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elequ profile image
Elena Williams

Sorry if I missed it, but how many years has it been (since the 10-year stop watch started, anathem-style)?

My snooping suggests ... 8-ish? Though this could be completely misguided.

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yukikimoto profile image
Yuki Kimoto - SPVM - Perl Club

Thanks for your public inbox. I'm searching for the way to communicated with people.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

🙂

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cwraytech profile image
Christopher Wray

Do you now make enough money to support yourself with DEV?

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

DEV (Forem) was once a ramen story (not paying ourselves, running out of money etc)...

But now the company is pretty well funded and building a very sustainable business model around hosting Forems.

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cwraytech profile image
Christopher Wray

Awesome 👏

Congratulations. I will do my best to read that other article.

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afif profile image
Temani Afif

Hi Ben, I hope you don't mind I used your avatar to create a Loader meme: dev.to/afif/i-made-100-more-css-lo... ?

PS: You may have missed my ping so I am writing you here.
Cheers!

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Sorry I saw it, but didn't react. I love it 😅.

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iainfreestone profile image
Iain Freestone • Edited

Hi Ben, is there any way to get analytics on a post made to dev.to? The number of views figures are nice to see but would love to be able to track where the visitors came from.

Thanks for the great work on this site.

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krishnakakade profile image
krishna kakade

Hello Ben
i hope you know me a little bit about
but still I am krishna kakade. Currently I am in my last year of computer science and engineering from India and mostly working in web development related technologies. and i am interested in joining the devto/forem frontend development team as fresher student because i love to write blogs for forem and also i would to like to join core development team of forem and i also have to learn ruby and rails but i will learn it i can join within next 15 days you can also check my personal website here:- krishnadevz.github.io
and resume here :
I am ready to work hard and consistently for the betterment of the company's products.
thank you
have a nice day
kind regards
krishna kakade

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Would you be thinking of this as an internship/apprenticeship sort of opportunity?

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krishnakakade profile image
krishna kakade • Edited

Yes and also I am about too graduate in next two months thank you 😊

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krishnakakade profile image
krishna kakade

any updates ?

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krishnakakade profile image
krishna kakade

?

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maxphillipsdev profile image
Max Phillips

Hi Ben, I read the manifesto essay for Forem recently and was quite excited to see so many of the issues with the current state of the internet expressed so eloquently :)

I was wondering if you have any advice for building successful business models for open source software?

Thanks for starting this, I'm excited to see more community focused software in the future!

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I was wondering if you have any advice for building successful business models for open source software?

Pay a lot of attention to what is established and working (read up on open core), but merge that with an exploration of what hasn’t been tried in the space you’re in — what is the unique way you’ll apply some good established ideas?

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maxphillipsdev profile image
Max Phillips

Thanks for the reply! I hadn't heard of open core I'll read up on that. I'm currently studying arts and social media at university, and its been very interesting to see how the design choices made by platforms are impacting their use (although also a bit maddening at times).

I think Forem's community-first approach is definitely the right track to be on. The values of open source seem to be pretty well aligned with the direction social media should be taking, though its surprising how rarely open source is considered as an option for that sort of every-day-person-facing software.

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alesbe profile image
alesbe

Hi! I don't know if you still check this public inbox, but I'll throw my question! 🙌

How something like Dev.to / Forem sustains itself without any ads or required payments? I've seen a lot of projects like this one and always wondered how they do it.

Keep up the good work! I've discovered dev.to a few weeks ago and I'm loving it!

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev

Hi Ben

I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying interacting with the community you, Jess etc. have built.

I have 2 questions:-

  1. Is there anything on the roadmap to make the editor better. Things like selecting text to add bold etc. or better yet a list of the liquid tags that you can click to insert a template for them as I am constantly having to look them up as a new member!

    1. How do you select people for the podcast? I was interested in this post advertising an upcoming podcast on accessibility but don't know what you all want to see before considering someone to talk on a subject! (and I suppose the third question is has the podcast gone ahead with a different title as I can't find it!)

Once again thanks for a great platform!

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev

p.s. edit seems to be broken for me the last couple of days so obviously those should be numbered 1 and 2 🤣🤣

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miu profile image
Manu Miu

Hey Ben,
Thank you so much for creating this amazing dev community! I highly appreciate all your sweat and tears you've put into building it!

In your comment here you're saying that you're "building a very sustainable business model around hosting Forems".

May I ask what your business model is? So how do you make money (or what are your future plans to make money) with dev.to?

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elsa profile image
Elsa

Hi👋

I have a doubt Ben.
I know you are he co-founder of Forem

Do you work in Forem only, or in another company?
Because Forem is completely free for users.
Then how do you make money?

So I asked, there is nothing wrong with what I asked.

Forgive me if I heard wrong

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smitagravat profile image
smit-agravat

I am a mechanical engineer, I tried a lot to find a good job but i think I choose wrong path, now trying to change my path i was always interested about computers i learned programming along with my college course i know python, HTML, css, javascript, Typescript, angular and now started learning React i want to become a front-end developer is there any chance of my success because i don't have degree in computer science or Information technology and if there is a chance then can i get a job as intern because I think i know stuff but in real world things are different and maybe I need little bit of experience of industry..... Thank you.

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sirseanofloxley profile image
Sean Allin Newell

How's the fam?

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I haven't been able to see most of my family in over a year (Canadian), but generally doing pretty well. I'm very grateful for the Canadian government assistance through the pandemic for the folks in my family who have needed it.

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klvenky profile image
Venkatesh KL

Hey @ben,
Thanks for the awesome platform. I have 2 queries for you

  1. I have configured my following tags & the feed criteria pretty heavily. After time flew, I am finding it hard to make the changes to make it more relevant. Is there a way to reset my configuration on tags? It would be super helpful if there's an option.
  2. Please share any nice article with tips on configuring tags. I would like to configure once it's reset 😁
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bobbyiliev profile image
Bobby Iliev

No questions at the moment, but just wanted to say thank you for the great platform!

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